One of Canadian drag racing’s most staunch supporters — crosses off another bucket list item….

Pretty much every drag racing fan in Ontario has heard his voice, seen his art and knows his name and Rob Potter is now poised to further add to that reputation.

Potter, who has deep affection and knowledge for the history of the sport of drag racing and in particular for within Canada, was able to last season add participation to the sport he adores.  He was able to make some runs down the fabled Cayuga Dragway (where he is one of the track announcers) quarter-mile following the completion of a very long time passion project, a 1967 Rambler American rebuild.

Since the mid 1980’s Rob Potter’s involvement at Cayuga Dragway has been extensive — including being track photographer and track announcer.

For Rob, who was recognized and inducted into the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame (CDRHF) back in 2016, those laps were needless to say –meaningful.

“My American was originally a 6-cylinder — a real “Grannie Car” — which is actually true because I got it from a friend whose Grandmother had owned it,” Rob revealed.  “I got the car from the estate of Bernie Jordan who passed away at age 35.  I then sold it for a period — so I could go to college — before getting it back again.  Ever since, it’s been a project of patience.  I did have it out about 6 years ago – but it was pretty rough while running 115 mph.  So I parked it and when I looked it all over determined it just needed to be made much safer in order to continue.”

Rob’s long time personal passion 1967 Rambler did come to racing fruition last summer.

It was after that when Rob’s project received a lot of behind the scenes help as he gradually improved the car as time and his budget would allow.

“Great friends FJ Smith, JC Hutchison, Bill Richards and Tony Hayes all stepped up to help,” Rob continued.  “They did all the work — working on a race car is not my strength — I have two left hands and too short of a temper!”

Rob also cites personal inspiration playing a big part to the eventual completion of his project — from his wife Val, who like his friend Bernie had passed away much too soon.

“The memories of Val and Bernie continue to motivate me and there is a tribute to them both on the trunk of the race car,” he added.

At the end of the 2020 season Rob did have his Rambler “rambling” rather nicely.  With a 396 CID BBC motor and a power glide transmission, he coaxed the car to a best run of 11.6 secs.

“Now the car is very easy to drive,” he said sounding relieved.  “But to go racing takes money. There are limitations because I’m now a pensioner, but next year I would like to run it at some ONDA and RCSS events.”

Rob’s deep involvement in Canadian drag racing is needless to say — multifaceted.  In addition to being a weekly track announcer at Cayuga Dragway (Toronto Motorsports Park) — he and his good friend/partner Tony Hayes also founded the Drag Strip Memories car show which (prior to COVID) was a popular off-season annual attraction at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum (Mt. Hope ON).  Rob also owns and administers the very popular Dragway Memories FB page – which is relentless within its creative promotion of Canada’s drag racing history.

Tony Hayes and Rob Potter coordinate and present the Drag Strip Memories car show near Hamilton Ontario.

But Rob does direct his highest esteem for the drag racing pursuits and aspirations of his daughter Yvonne Potter.   Yvonne is not only a prominent member of the Paton Racing Top Fuel Dragster team (& girlfriend to Mark Morris – car chief) – she is also on a fast pace developing her own career as a driver in the sport.  During 2020, racing her own rear-engined and naturally aspirated dragster, Yvonne was particular while improving, placing well and running consistently while gaining experience at all events she attended.   

Rob’s daughter Yvonne was on a torrid pace developing her career as a driver in 2020. The 2021 racing season will see her potentially step up into a much faster class. (*More particulars on that to come on DragRaceCanada – soon).

“Really when I step back and look at it all — seeing my daughter Yvonne racing is what pumps me up the most,” Rob winked.

Posted by Bruce Biegler

Photos by Bruce Biegler – Stacee Richards – Tony Hayes 

To visit Dragway Memories FB/page click:  HERE